Innovation Central at GFCP Shawnee, Oklahoma

Apr 12, 2019 9:00 AM
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Innovation Central was officially opened in September 27, 2017 in conjunction with the arrival of the GF Corporate’s Board of Directors. The 11,400 sq. ft. facility serves multiple purposes. Nearly half of the space (roughly 5,600 sq. ft.) is a showroom that displays many of Georg Fischer Central Plastic's (GFCP) products, their applications and identifies some of the industries served by the company.  A massive time-line graphic summarizes the founding of Central Plastics in 1956 and follows the history of development and company growth through the present day.  The structure also includes a designated limited access Research and Development department (roughly 1,625 sq. ft.).  It acts to centralize all of GFCP’s product development activities.  Beyond that, you’ll find a lecture classroom suited for about 60 students with sophisticated visual and audio equipment, a hands-on training room for various fusion training activities and a kitchen layout capable of catering to large crowds.

Insight into the working process:

Every display went through several steps of planning. Those include multiple pencil drawings, “Sketchup” drawings and SolidWorks drawings with precise measurements including height, length and width of the display and how it would be connected to parts like valves, meter boxes or risers. Some of the sketches from the planning stage can be seen below. Next to them are the displays in the Innovation Central and how they look like after they were built using mostly foam art. Some of the heavier equipment such as the commercial meter set (150 lb.) is secured by custom made mounting devices that mount the meter set on the floor. 

Idea/Sketch Result
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The showroom in the center of the facility displays many of GFCP’s products, including both the plastic and steel product lines. Exhibits illustrate some of the possible applications in different markets. Multiple panels provide more detailed information for visitors. The showroom also provides an introduction into the multiple industries of GFCP product applications. 

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Near Life-sized displays reveal the detail and craftsmanship that went into Innovation Central and its numerous displays. Visuals like this not only advertise products such as risers, tapping tees, and meter sets. They uncover and illuminate an industry that is mainly occurring underground and hidden from most of the population.

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In a 6’ x 30’ long island display, products manufactured by the Dallas location of GFCP are mixed with those manufactured in Shawnee.   Here you’ll find PE pipe and fittings in diameters starting at 2” IPS to 36”, fused and bolted together in a variety of configurations that help the imagination run wild with possibilities.  (Sounds like it run on sentence, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/run-on-sentence)

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Six custom made display crosses, each containing  eight separate panels  present detailed information about five distinct product lines (PE Molded Fittings and Equipment, Electrofusion Fittings and Equipment; Meter Sets, Manifolds, Malleables, and Meter Barricades; Transition Fittings; and Risers) and one cross that highlights four of our newest products.  The individual panels detail the subsectors of the products on the cross.  For example:  The riser cross breaks down the five distinct riser types we make: (1) Residential All-Kote Anodeless Risers; (2) Commercial Anodeless Risers; (3) Service Head Adapter Risers; (4) Transition Risers; and (5) Compression Risers. Products are listed with their sizes, specifications and certifications. The panels are purposely designed in the shape of the ‘+’ sign, replicating parts of the Georg Fischer logo and the corporate strategy of adding value.

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The new Research and Development room has successfully centralized all the GFCP new product developments. It has space for innovating new products and testing them. Features such as 3D printers increase the possibilities of product development. This room is also a great location to demonstrate new innovations to customers.

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Innovation Central hosts a large classroom that can fit around 60 students. Each desk has easy access to user friendly, but sophisticated, visual and audio equipment. This space can be used to host meetings and other events that require a large scale room with modern equipment as well. A training room next door offers hands-on training for various fusion machines, increasing the learning experience provided by Innovation Central.

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After all the displays and possibilities that Innovation Central provides, a break might be needed. The kitchen – which is opened towards the showroom – is a perfect place for refreshing drinks and snacks, even catered lunches are common place.

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The visitor’s attention is secured right after entering the building with a world map of all Georg Fischer locations, sorted into the three divisions: GF Piping Systems, GF Casting Solutions, and GF Machining Solutions. It sets the stage for this thought-through and well-executed facility that reflects the excellent corporate image as well as leaves visitors impressed.

It is obvious that a lot of hard work and well over $1 million US dollars went into Innovation Central, but the effort was well worth it. Since the opening day the facility has hosted a few thousand guests. Innovation Central is continuously receiving rave reviews from customers and distributors, as well as the city and state. But the work is far from being over as the team at GFCP will continue to add to the product displays, the training room and the classroom. We will keep finding ways to address the needs of the industries served.

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